Joanne Smith

Founder and Executive Director, Girls for Gender Equity

"We must cause strategic disruption that changes society’s moral compass around trafficking, sexual assault, violence against girls, women and gender nonconforming people of color. This commitment to ending gender based violence and the devaluing of human rights is life long and I'm honored to fight with survivors, allies, and friends as we say NO MORE." 

Joanne N. Smith, founder and executive director is responsible for moving Girls for Gender Equity (GGE) closer to its mission through strategic planning, development, and leadership cultivation. Ms. Smith is a Haitian-American social worker born in New York City. She founded GGE in 2001 with the support of the Open Society Foundation to end gender-based violence and promote gender, race and class equality.

Joanne completed post-graduate training at Ackerman Institute for the Family, providing therapy to families, supporting the family/school collaborative and linking families to community resources. Joanne is an alumna of Hunter Graduate School of Social Work and Columbia Institute for Nonprofit Management.  She has co-authored her first book published by Feminist Press, Hey Shorty: A Guide to Combating Sexual Harassment and Violence in Public Schools and on the Streets, 2011.

A staunch human rights advocate Smith has been honored by a number of prestigious organizations, including the Choice USA, Stonewall Democratic Club, and the Union Square Award in recognition of her leadership and dedication to reproductive, LGBTQ, and civil rights. She is part of the first Move to End Violence cohort—a 10-year initiative designed by NoVo Foundation to strengthen the collective capacity to end violence against girls and women in the United States. Currently Smith is a Young Leader of the French-American Foundation. The program takes up-and-coming leaders in government, business, media, military, culture and the non-profit sector to discuss transatlantic policies, globalization and intersectional issues affecting France and America.   Joanne resides in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn where she enjoys riding bikes, concerts in the park and kick-boxing.

Girls for Gender Equity

Girls for Gender Equity is an intergenerational organization founded in 2001. They are committed to the physical, psychological, social, and economic development of girls and women. Through education, organizing, and physical fitness, GGE encourages communities to remove barriers and create opportunities for girls and women to live self-determined lives.